Friday, June 10, 2016
As you can probably surmise, the deck is my next project that I have begun. It should have been tackled a lot earlier but for awhile we were kicking around what our ultimate goal is going to be behind the house, namely below this deck. There is a crude concrete patio beneath that actually sits higher than the slab of the house so when we get real toad strangling rains, it can cause water to run up against the house where it previously water damaged the siding and underlayment. With both of those replaced, I want to fix that problem sooner rather than later. That means digging up the slab underneath, regrading to the proper height and putting in a new patio.
However, with all the things going on this year, there just isn't money in the budget to tackle it this year which means I let the deck slide another year or work on it this year and risk throwing away money if we decide to change it. After some consideration, I figured that whatever we end up with for a future layout, I can probably take that into consideration with the new patio so we can use the old deck a few more years and then redo it sometime in the future, after the patio has been completed. With that in mind, I broke out the power washer in the background and after snapping this picture, proceeded to thoroughly clean and strip any loose stain off the deck boards.
There are several things I hate about this deck. Whoever screwed the deck boards down drove the screws at all sorts of crazy angles making holes and splinters in the deck boards larger and worse than they really needed to be. These days they make jigs that allow you to screw them down from the side where they aren't even seen. The boards they used were very wet most likely and have shrunk a lot over the years leaving almost all the screws popped out. So before I did anything, I had to scrape the dirt and layers of stain out of the screw heads and sink them further into the deck which was a very laborious process. Many screws have twisted off or broke off over they years which makes sinking them further or removing them impossible. Some in the path where I most often walk I dig out anyway and others I just leave.
The power washer removed layers of dirt and some old stain but the majority remained behind. I had ideas of completely getting the old stain off to go with a lighter stain but after a half gallon of deck stripper at $45/gallon, I couldn't quite get a 2 square feet area down to bare wood so decided it was cost prohibitive to continue. Of course staining over old stain is not as good as staining over bare wood as far as life expectancy goes but since this deck may not have a long life ahead of it, I decided to roll the dice.